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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 

Poker Done Right

I was reading the heated discussions on the manilapoker yahoo groups about the PPT million peso tourney. As most of us know by now, the organization running the tournament has been infamous for their totally uninformed and god-knows-where-they-got-it structures and unfair payout schemes. Most people questioned the fairness of the recent payout structure, and the integrity of the entire organization that is the PPT. When i was reading it, i recognized several people who put in their two cents worth into the discussion, mostly because ive known these guys for a long time and we have the same ideas on what a fair and standard tournament structure should be like.

What really amused me were the people who defended the PPT for what they were doing. They said "they are the first, they took the risk, they are not even gonna make money out of it" etc, etc. All i can say to that is, YEAH RIGHT. I will not go into the details about the money they have made through "sattelites" (where the rebuys NEVER make it into the pot) and also the raked cash games they have alongside their "sattelites".

Look, it isnt that hard to look at respected poker organizations around the world and use their standards as a guideline in setting up your own poker organization. Structures are available online, tournament guidelines, payout schemes, all these things are freely given to help other poker organizers all over the world. Dont invent your own please. A poker tournament is a way to promote the sport, it is a tool for casinos and gaming clubs to advertize their venues. It really isnt gonna make an organizer rich, because it is for the players.

Another really amusing thing is one comment this guy made. He said something like "if you dont like how 10th to 5th place pays, play for 1st place. i always play a tournament thinking about winning first place." Wow. That guy must be the best poker player in the world because any world class pro knows for a fact that a multi table NLHE tournament is totally unpredictable and even the best player in the world cannot say that he is playing for first place. If you do make it to the final table, then that is where you can shift your play and go for the win.
Personally, i enter a tournament thinking that i will just play my best game, make the right decisions, and hope for the best, because i know that i cannot control how the cards fall.

i was reading that forum and i saw how a lot of players realy dont have a firm grasp of why tournaments are structured the way they are, and think that it is about "the glory" or "the prestige", about winning first place and nothing else matters. First of all, nobody guarantees first place money. If something should be guaranteed, it should be the enitre pot. Payouts have always been done through percentages, and are always based on the number of participants.

The logic of that concept is this: If you guarantee if you guarantee 1M to first place and 600K to 2nd down to 10th, it means you have a fixed payout. What if, instead of just 80 players, they hit 150 players? Instead of the pot being 1.6M, at 150 players x 20K, it will be 3M! Now, do they still payout 1.6M only? is it still 10 places? still 40K for tenth place? Dont you see the logic???

The sad truth of the matter is, this organization sees themselves as something like a "boxing promoter", where they put up the money for the event, have a fixed prize amount for the winner, and keep the rest of the money for themselves.They see your buy-in not as part of the pot, but as part of their profit. This is already a known fact in the local poker community, when the last tournament they held had a total of about 270K in buy-ins, but only 80K went into the hands of the participants. My good friend who placed 4th in this 90+ seat tournament with a 3K buy-in only got P4,000+ as his prize. If thats not screwed up then i dont know what is.

Bottom line, in my opinion only, is that these people are doing it for the wrong reasons, mainly money, fame, prestige, and god knows what else. I dont know if i'm overreacting but i think the only way to let them feel that the poker community is not something to be taken advantage of is to simply NOT join their so-called "tournaments". Yeah sure they will attract some random players who dont really understand the totality of the game that much and play tournaments "to win first place" or whatever, or even get some super rich casino players to join them by dangling a P1M carrot in front of them, but in the end it will be US, the players, who will decide what is fair and unfair.

The future of philippine poker is not in the hands of some organization who decided to call themselves "The philippine poker organization" or whatnot, but rather in the hands of the players who make up the poker community. The Filipino poker player can reach the success levels of sports legends like Efren "bata" Reyes and Manny Pacquiao. In maybe a couple more years, if we just ensure that our players learn and play the game the way it should be played, we will see Filipino poker millionaires bringing home WSOP bracelets and gaining international prestige as one of the best players in the world.

Poker can only be done right by putting players first.

"but rather in the hands of the players who make up the poker community."

kung wala yung players walang poker... pero pabayaan mo na sila bro... ganon talaga e... :p

another lucid and informed post by the maverick. amen to all that, bro..

First time I read your column bro, pwedeng pang syndication. Hindi sindikato ha . .

"Poker done right" has been our community's motto from the beginning, from the start. We've all done our small contribution for the good of the community so I think we in this community have to show these usurpers of Hold'em how its done.


I cannot agree more to your very insightful post... Sorry I haven't been reading your blog more often... In any case, that's also why I've lost some faith in the so-called "poker community" because I see that the community is not being run properly... All of these wannabes (who don't even know the rules) are mkaing up their own stuff, and the rest of us have to suffer when we sit with them at the felt to much disappointment...

Sadly, those of us who know any better hardly ever get to see one another often enough to build something again...

I think we've been too hurt and disdained by the trauma we suffered under the BBC... And then, we thought we could get our licks in with the ACF with the right connections, but then the suits from PAGCOR have something else in mind and I guess we're not just built for that kind of politics and showbusiness...

However, even without our once-beloved BBC, there are other places where poker is being done right, but sadly it's not being done by US... US, who (once upon a blue moon) set the f*ing standard on how things should be done, and to use your words "POKER DONE RIGHT!"...

I try to think of a way to revive a bit of the glory days, but then some players have disappeared to other poker rooms... Some of us still manage to squeeze a game together once in a while, but...

Personally, I've always been fond of playing with the fish (even if they don't know the game), and discovering new games where most still don't know my game... It's a dangerous territory, but it's easy pickings from time to time... Of course, i would never shy away from a game with my former "feltmates" and the ones WHO KNOW WHAT THE F THEY'RE PLAYING!

In fact, I'd love a table/tourney which got poker right... even if the pot doesn't reach a million...

By the way, can we have a show of hands for maybe a Parque Espana reunion before the summer ends?

my boring blog is at It's not as opinionated as this, but it's something to kill time...

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  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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